Sweden election: Why the far-right were the biggest winners and four other takeaways

When all of the votes were counted the Sweden Democrats may not have been the most important party on this week’s election, but there is not any doubt they were the most important winners. 

From early beginnings as a neo-Nazi group to getting their first MPs into the Riksdag only 12 years ago; to supplanting the standard conservative opposition and garnering greater than 20% of the vote this 12 months, the rise of the far-right anti-immigrant party has been meteoric. 

The Sweden Democrats may not find yourself a proper a part of the right-wing coalition which has a slim majority within the Swedish parliament, but they may actually loom large behind the scenes, within the corridors of power, and where government ministries are driven by a few of their policies. 

1. So what was the key to the Sweden Democrats’ success?

The Sweden Democrats didn’t have a flash-in-the-pan win at this week’s election. They’ve had a slow and regular build-up of support during the last decade and seen the success of comparable anti-immigrant parties in Finland and Denmark stepping into government, paving the way in which for them.

What they’ve managed to do successfully is link up a recent crime wave involving some shootings and gang violence, with the concept it’s all of the fault of foreigners. 

Indeed, on the campaign trail, senior Sweden Democrat politicians were openly blaming Islam for lots of Sweden’s social and economic problems. 

They’ve pivoted away from being openly critical of foreigners to a more nuanced message that claims people of various cultures cannot live in the identical country: and it is a message which has been heard loud and clear by voters. 

Whether in government or as the ability behind the throne, the Sweden Democrats “will drive a very hard bargain,” said Pontus Odmalm, a Swede who lectures in politics on the University of Edinburgh.

Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson has made it crystal clear that immigration is the highest priority his party desires to see tackled by the subsequent government. 

“They are going to drive a very hard bargain. We would see what happened in Denmark where the federal government made a take care of the Danish People’s Party on budget and immigration. But it’ll be an especially difficult post-election situation.” he told Euronews. 

In government, or out of presidency, there will probably be a coalition deal of some kind made between the Sweden Democrats and the opposite parties in the subsequent government, led by the Moderates’ Ulf Kristersson.

“I believe what we now have to see if Sweden Democrats advisers are coming into government departments and in the event that they set limits on what civil servants can do,” said Dominic Hinde, an experienced foreign journalist in Sweden who lectures on the University of Glasgow in Scotland. 

“Anybody who’s directly under the mandate of the state could find they’re called to do things they will not be entirely comfortable with, and that’s uncharted territory.

“Often there is a big respect amongst ministers and politicians for the neutrality of recommendation the civil service gives, but now they will probably be expecting more of a confrontation on policy issues,” Hinde told Euronews. 

2. Sweden Democrats actually aren’t universally popular in Sweden

On a national level, the Sweden Democrats looked to have performed very well. But a more in-depth inspection of some voting results showed they’re more popular in some parts of Sweden than others.

Their heartland is within the south of the country, in areas that might need previously been strongholds for the Social Democrats.

Within the capital, Stockholm, the Sweden Democrats received just 10% of the votes, while in Gothenburg they got 14.7% of the vote. 

But within the southern region of Skåne they polled almost 33% of the votes within the countryside areas. In Skane’s biggest city Malmö, they got 16.4% of the vote which really highlights the importance of rural areas in southern Sweden where there are concerns about immigration and crime and where the Sweden Democrats’ message is resonating strongly. 

3. After election defeats come resignations

It has been a turbulent week for Sweden’s first female Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. On the campaign trail, she’s considered a ‘rock star’ for the Social Democrats, together with her image adorning countless posters and leaflets. And with a high trust factor from the general public, she was an enormous electoral asset to the Social Democrats. 

Andersson’s personal popularity, nonetheless, didn’t translate into enough of a lift for her party and he or she handed in her resignation to the speaker of parliament the day after final polling results got here out – although her party actually gained seven seats in parliament in comparison with the previous election. 

And he or she wasn’t the one high-profile candidate to quit this week. The leader of the Centre Party Annie Lööf also resigned. Her party is nominally centre-right in Nordic politics terms but she was so aghast on the considered being in power or beholden to the Sweden Democrats — she repeatedly called them “xenophobes” on the campaign trail — that her party would have been willing to affix a left-wing bloc just to maintain them out of office. 

“After 11 years as party leader, I’ll shortly hand over the baton” Lööf wrote on Twitter. 

“I do it with a straight back and a way of pride within the impression the Center Party has made. For the climate, for the countryside and for gender equality. Because we at all times stood up for humanity.”

The Centre Party’s election gamble didn’t repay for Lööf, whose party lost seven seats and almost 2% of the vote compared with the previous election. 

4. The environment was placed on the back burner

The climate crisis didn’t feature as strongly on this election cycle as you may imagine. Especially in the house country of Greta Thunberg, where there’s even a word for ‘flight shaming’ individuals who take too many planes! 

In a lot because the climate was a component of the campaign it was linked to the energy price hikes, and looking out at whether more nuclear power stations could be needed in Sweden. 

Greta Thunberg, who made herself globally famous by sitting quietly outside parliament in Stockholm just two weeks before the 2018 general election, has lamented that climate issues were “forgotten” on this campaign. 

“The climate is an enormous and essential issue for voters, but my impression is it isn’t discussed on the identical level in any respect as law and order, and the energy crisis and rising gasoline prices, that is being discussed more,” said Nora Theorin from the University of Gothenburg. 

“After all within the party manifesto of the Green Party they are attempting to at all times concentrate on the climate query and in debates once they are interviewed, but for some reason, this has not translated into votes,” she told Euronews. 

There was some excellent news for the Swedish Greens, nonetheless, who at one point looked like they may not get enough votes to push them above the 4% threshold to get into parliament. 

They polled 5.1% nationally but had a very strong showing in a number of the greater cities: 10% in Stockholm, 7.9% in Gothenburg and seven.5% in Malmö.

5. Will Sweden’s international image take successful?

World wide, Sweden has been seen as a beacon of progressive liberalism. The country of gender equality and full rights for sexual minorities. That is the land of ABBA and IKEA.

But now, how is the remainder of the world speculated to have a look at a rustic where one-in-five voters solid their ballot for an openly anti-immigrant party?

The Moderates, under likely latest Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, will wish to move quickly to reassure international partners that they’re the sensible hand on the tiller of the Swedish state. 

After all, talk is one thing, and the subsequent Swedish government – they tackle average 18 days to form – will ultimately be judged on its actions whether the Sweden Democrats are a proper a part of a coalition government with seats in cabinet, or in the event that they are behind the scenes pulling the strings.


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